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Twelve smartphone apps for boosting your business productivity

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Rise of a digital era

With the rise of the wireless age, the concept of the nine-to-five office workday is slowly going the way of the floppy disk. More and more business is escaping the traditional confines of the boardroom and taking place in subway cars, restaurants, even 30,000 feet in the air! The key to efficiency lies in our mobile devices, many of which pack a more powerful processing punch than the desktops used a decade ago. While the stock software on many mobile devices is useful itself, below are twelve highly-useful productivity applications for any professional.

Productivity app for Android:

AwayFind
AwayFind acts as a personal assistant for your email inbox, flagging important messages that a user deems important. Flagged messages are easily accessible from the notification window tab, or you can set the application to send you a text message or phone call. This is fantastic for professionals who can’t afford to sit in front of a screen and be distracted by Groupon and YouTube e-mails, but still need to be accountable to a client or supervisor. Setup is easy through the service’s website, and all the user has to do is log in on the mobile application. The free service will allow you to monitor one e-mail account, perfect for the professional on the go with a company email account.

SwiftKey X
When it comes to Android phones, very few have a built-in physical QWERTY keyboard. Those that do tend to feel plastic-y and uncomfortable after extended periods of thumb-typing. Those that don’t leave you with an awkward glossy touchscreen keyboard that makes typing a pain for anyone with larger hands. SwiftKey X is a smart keyboard that features a comfortable layout and unmatched prediction technology that literally can scan your Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, and previous SMS messages to detect your language and spelling patterns. SwiftKey X also includes tactile vibration response, customizable themes, and currently supports 28 global languages. The best feature is the statistics page, which counts the keystrokes entered and saved, giving the percentage of efficiency typing (author’s note: after over 45,000 keystrokes, SwiftKey X has made me 24% more efficient at typing). A free edition can be downloaded for a month’s use, but the full version will cost you a well-worth $4.03 on the Android Market.

Cam Scanner
Interesting magazine article? Complicated diagram on a PowerPoint presentation? Maybe you just need to read a shipping report on the go. Cam Scanner is a digitizing application that utilizes the phone’s camera to transform a picture into a cropped, enhanced industry standard PDF file. The application then allows easy upload to Dropbox, Google Doc, or Box.net. The free version leaves a small watermark in the corner and limits up to 50 ten-page documents. The license will cost you $4.99 but give you full control with zero limitation.

Productivity apps for iPhone:

DropBox
Sometimes, it is easy to be in a rush and accidentally forget that purchase order or lease form on your home computer. DropBox, like a digital wormhole, allows you to save your files in the online cloud space provided in the account, and open them on any other computer or mobile device. Photos, documents, videos, all can be accessed from any location. The latest version of the document saved in the DropBox gets updated on all phones and computers, meaning that the last minute changes to an important presentation can be made in the cab and opened in the boardroom looking fantastic.

Read It Later (Free)
Major phone carriers like to brag about how omnipresent their coverage is, but reality dictates that not every airplane or subway car or convention center is a Mecca of wireless connectivity. With Read It Later, any web page, whether it be a real estate listing, client’s personal site, or business article is instantly saved onto your device for convenient offline reading. Use the extra time where others are staring at the “no signal” message and scratching their heads to get caught up on your articles and leave that commute armed with the knowledge to succeed at your daily endeavors.

LucyPhone
Sometimes, the only route to complete a task goes through the wasteland of automated customer service. There’s the menus and the options and the ungracefully long period on hold. Save yourself the poor quality 80’s music with LucyPhone! The process is simple. Download the app, search a business’s toll-free number or add your own, and then navigate the menu. Once on hold, press ** and your phone disconnects from the call, but LucyPhone stays on. When an agent is on the line, LucyPhone will call you back and connect you to the agent. Your phone battery is conserved, your stress level is decreased, and you can use the time on hold to complete constructive tasks. The best part? This app and service is free.

Productivity apps for iPad:

Dragon Dictation
“Dictated, but not read,” This phrase is often used to get down a quick or informal memo. Dragon Dictation is powered by Dragon® NaturallySpeaking® voice recognition software that can get the word out five times faster than using the iPad’s keyboard. While not ideal for formal, important emails, Dragon Dictation is great for notes, messages, and social media updates. With over a dozen languages supported, this app is helping professionals around the world get the word out fast – without even touching a keyboard.

Dolphin Browser HD
iPad owners take pride in their devices for a good reason – they’re fast, sleek, and are capable of completing almost any task. While Safari, Apple’s native browser is nice, Dolphin Browser HD truly matches up with the processing power of the iPad system. Gesture navigation opens bookmarks with blinding speed, tabbed browsing gets you the multiple pages you need for back-and-forth research and productivity, and the beautiful layout and graphics just look fantastic on the bigger screen. Comparison shows that Dolphin Browser HD is one of the fastest mobile browser applications available. With all of this speed and no price tag, Dolphin Browser HD is one app that any professional needs.

Google Goggles
Google Goggles is the iPad application that is as fun to say as it is to use. Boasting a wide array of features, Google Goggles does it all. Utilizing the iPad’s camera, it recognizes barcodes, products, landmarks, artwork, business cards, print ads, and more. Google Goggles supports voice search in dozens of languages, it gives you the weather automatically, it even solves Sudoku puzzles. If you’re a professional asking “who”, “what”, “when”, “where”, “why”, or “how”, Google Goggles is the ultimate mobile know-it-all package.

Porductivity apps for Blackberry:

Navita Translator
They exist in every professional’s work life: the non-native speaking client. Don’t get caught reading sheepishly out of a cheaply-translated handbook of phrases, whip out your Blackberry (any model) and load the Navita Translator app. Great for global businesspeople, this application translates over fifty languages, in emails, web browsers, SMS messages, or direct message input. Idioms, digital messages, spoken words, you can translate just about anything said with this handy app. Be the agent that won that huge contract over for your team, and do it with the Navita Translator.

Blackberry Travel
The preferred mobile device of many professionals, there’s a solid possibility that you’ll find yourself flying city to city with your device. When you need to rent a car or find a hotel or flight, Blackberry Travel will be your best friend. Blackberry Travel won’t just help you get there, it will convert currencies, find the local weather, and list popular dining destinations with Yelp integration. Whether it’s the next state over or the opposite end of the earth, leave the travel agent and bring Blackberry Travel.

Battery Booster Pro
For the professional on the go, it’s difficult to find a chunk of time dedicated to charging your mobile device. Instead of scrambling for a seat near an outlet when you take your lunch break in the cafeteria, download Battery Booster Pro. Don’t let the title fool you, this absolutely free application takes protective action to prolong your device’s battery life. Battery Booster Pro monitors data usage (a huge factor in battery life), warns you when power consuming apps are left running, and will even automatically power your device on and off on a preset schedule if desired. Be productive longer with Battery Booster Pro.

Improving your professional life

Regardless of the make or model of your wireless device, there are thousands of applications available to make your professional life more productive and convenient.

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

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61 Comments

61 Comments

  1. Jason Fox

    September 26, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    The Dragon Diction App seems like a dream find for many bloggers. If the app worked well, how awesome would it be to be able to tell a story and have it transcribed into a blog post.

  2. Clotildelee

    May 30, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Hello,
     
    Thanks for this apps! I like testing productivity apps. For the iPad, I recommend as professional note taking/ToDo/Project management application “Beesy”. A month ago, I discovered this app and now I often use Beesy for my meetings
     With Beesy, you can find many features to accomodate tasks, generate automatically a ToDo list from your notes, make monitoring, and send easily minutes by email. This app is great; you save a lot of time at work and you start appreciating meeting again.
     
    If you are interested, you can google “Beesy” or go to the application’s website for detailed information
       https://www.beesapps.com/beesy-ipad-to-do/
     
    Kind regards,
     
    Clotilde Lee
     

  3. appsicum

    October 18, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Hey guys you can also download the Future Scheduler app(paid), it’s pretty cool.

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Smartphones

LG G Flex will have a curved display: why it even matters

The LG G Flex is exciting as it is curved, but there are much deeper implications of this announcement that your company should take note of before your competitors do.

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LG G Flex to feature curved display

You may have heard that Samsung will launch a smartphone with a curved display (although they’ve so far fallen short on their plans to produce their smartphone prototype that is completely flexible), but did you know that LG is hot on their heels, with rumors of the LG G Flex launching this November?

As depicted above, what is believed to be called the LG G Flex is similar to a standard smartphone in shape, with just a slight curve, using plastic OLED screen technology

CNET reports that sources close to the project say the G Flex will have a six-inch display and November is the projected unveiling, but that could always be pushed back (although to be in time for the holiday shopping season, we suspect it will be a November launch).

Samsung will likely unveil their curved display phone this month, and there are rumors that the Galaxy Note 3 could feature a curved display as well.

Curved does not equal flexible

So why develop a curved display? Analysts point to the device actually fitting around your face naturally for making calls, and others note that it fits in a rear pocket more comfortably with a curve.

Curved does not equal flexibility, though, as the devices are still stationary, but the reason the LG G Flex being curved matters to you is that mass production of this type of technology is the precursor to what’s coming next – flexible devices.

Looking into a crystal ball

LG already introduced a curved 55-inch OLED tv panel, and was first to the finish line with the ability to mass produce fully flexible plastic screens, announced last year with their electronic paper display (EPD) product, sold overseas.

The LG EPD is not just flexible, allowing the screen to bend up to 40 degrees from its center, it is a 6 inch, 1024 x 768 e-ink plastic screen. The technology used mimics the way traditional ink appears on paper, which many prefer over the backlit flat panel displays of tablets and computers. The EPD is only 0.7mm thick, weighs 14 grams (that’s 1/33 of a pound) and is said to be scratch resistant when dropped.

Flexibility is next, and it is relevant for your brand not just for the novelty of having a flexible device, but because the way people interact with your website or app could be changing sooner than you might suspect.

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Smartphones

iPhone 6 concepts beginning to emerge

With all the hub-bub about iOS 7 and iPhone 5, several iPhone 6 concepts have emerged. The most prominent feature is the wrap around screen.

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Looking into the future

Whether you are an Android lover or an Apple fanatic, people love to fantasize about what the newest phone release will bring, from hologram keyboards, an added projector, and so forth. As for the iPhone 6, the most common feature designers and fans think it will have is the wrap around screen. AGBeat has featured this concept several times, and while it has yet to become reality, there seems to be high hope for the iPhone 6 release.

Dribble users have designed and shared several concept models, all of which have the wrap around screen, also known as the infinity screen. This design allows a more engaged user experience, by removing the side casing. The sides have a flat, touch-responsive volume control and a much thinner design overall. And some additional revisions (based upon Cladio Guglieri’s original) have included wifi, Bluetooth, do not disturb, airplane mode, and rotation lock icons, right on the side.

These additions give you instant access to your most used controls, without the need to tap through to gain access to the settings screen. Also, with the extra features, the opposite side of the phone shows your message status, emails, and music controls. DeviantArt also has multiple postings of the infinity screen design. This is absolutely amazing to me because there is so much information in such a limited amount of space. The thickness of the phone in the concept states 0.30 inches; it is really hard to believe an email icon can fit and be legible, but it does.

Other futuristic possibilities

There are also several versions that include aluminum plus carbon fiber casing, in many different variations. Although most still remove the edges from the iPhone 5 design. Behance users have also created several examples of this design concept. With touch sensors wrapping the display edge, concept designers believe no borders means nothing between your hands and the display. And they hope accidental gestures can be prevented with the sensors, although this is just a concept. You certainly would not want to pick the phone up to answer a call from your boss and accidentally start your iTunes playlist.

The only problem I see with this beautiful design is protecting the edges, despite designers touting the durability of the new technologies. As someone who frequently drops their phone, and attempts to keep it safe by using a protective case, I wonder how you can utilize the edges, but still keep the phone safe. Also, I would be interested to see, how often holding the phone triggers the side sensors. Otherwise, I think the wrap around design is both beautifully functional and a long overdue, welcome feature.

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iphone6-concept

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Smartphones

Contacts+ app adds productivity to any Android

Android users: Contacts+ is a great new way to manage your contacts, making a potentially frustrating process simple and streamlined, adding productivity to your phone.

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Contacts+ is more than a contact manager

Contacts+ is more than just a contact manager though, it is also a dialer app and combines photos with information from all your connected services: WhatsApp, Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Contacts+ is a welcome alternative to the Andriod favorite Smartr. Since Smartr was recently acquired by Yahoo!, Contacts+ could not have come at a better time.

You can send free and regular messages without switching apps, sync pictures to your contacts, including cover photos, from Facebook and get birthday reminders.

How the app works

With optimization for both Android phone and tablets, you have the ability to sort your contacts in a variety of ways without worrying if you will be able to see all the data. You can sort by groups, favorites, smart contact (prioritization by frequency or A-Z), and search message history of your contact from one place. If you happen to have the same contact in your phone more than once, Contacts+ will sync them together to save you any confusion.

One tap opens a contact card, and then you can tap again to make calls or email them. Once the contact card is open, you can also catch up on their social media life. Leo from Contacts+ writes, “they have a sync process with Facebook and Google+, essentially users connect their accounts (authentication is performed securely through the respective service) and once an account is connected, Contacts+ links and syncs contacts based on unique identifiable information, enabling them to automatically connect your contacts and their identities.”.

New features have been added

The newest features include high res picture sync, a new black theme, T9 search in the call log, Dialer+ shortcut that can be opened over your call log/contacts screen, the ability to call back directly from the incoming message pop up and ignore accents improvements.

The only drawback is that some of the “sorting” features are a bit harder to find. You will need to tap through a couple of different options to find the ability to sort by last name, for example. But, once you get used to it, it really is a nice way to manage your contacts. Contacts+ is free in the Google Play store.

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